Rafael Nadal’s season is over. A season which was exceptional on clay failed to pick up any momentum on hard courts.
The Spaniard announced today that he would not be travelling to London for the tour finals and is set to have ankle surgery.
Last year the former number one had to pull out following his opening round match with knee troubles but has had issues on hard courts all year.
Making that transition from surface to surface is very tough. One of the toughest is from hard to clay to grass and back to hard which is the theme the tour takes.
It is amazing the changes in players’ games, preparations and ability to utilise their body to be effective and remain fit.
Rafa was due/has played in 12 hard court tournaments this year. He withdrew from 9 tournaments before they had begun, retired mid-tournament twice and won Toronto.
At this stage in his career now I don’t think we will see him at his best on the hard-courts anymore. Never write someone off and the return from his knee issues over 12 months ago was incredible but I do expect this is a step too far.
His dominance on the clay courts this year was vintage Nadal but apart from that 6 weeks of the tour we haven’t seen a thing of consistency at the highest level but credit to what he did on the clay as to get to number one in the world for some time with minimum number of completed tournaments highlights how good he was but also the lack of a challenge with Federer and Djokovic having struggles early on.
There is still no word on participation at this ‘exhibition’ in Saudi Arabia next month but all signs put towards a withdrawal and the hope will be being fit for Melbourne but I’d feel like a warm-up at Brisbane or Sydney might be a good idea if fit.